Back To My Roots

Last weekend, on a retreat with my sisters, I saw the house that my parents were living in when I was born—for the first time.  This was all the more remarkable since that house was only about ten miles from the house that I grew up in from the time I was 15 months old, until I left home for college.  I wondered why I had never seen it before, but seeing it instantly added a new chapter to my story.  It is a duplex, larger than the townhouses that my brother and older sisters lived in as infants, but still very small.  It reflected a growing family (I’m the fourth of five children), but not a growing paycheck for my father and mother, who must have struggled mightily at a time when they were very young adults.  Every chapter matters, though, and now I understand a part of me that I did not previously recognize.  Stories are like that; each one adds to the person that we are, and as physicians, if we want to provide the very best care possible, we need to understand the person with the disease.  The best way to do that is to ask them about their stories.

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